The idea of this page is to provide you with a complete range of tools that can help you stop gambling. What might be the 'winning formula' for one, might not be for another - and so every available avenue is explored here and you should find the one that suits you best (if you could think of another, drop me a line).
I believe that the more time, energy and resource you plough into any of the below areas will result in the success you are looking for - and just like if you were dealing with a 'failing business', a multi-pronged approach is always a good idea.
For example; Just changing the route home so you don't walk past the 'casino' will not stop a problem gambler from gambling again. But by keeping little or no money on you, changing your route home, keeping a diary, reading how rotten gambling really is, talking online to other problem gamblers, getting advice from counsellors, trying hypnotherapy or CBT to stop gambling, going to a GA meeting, or visiting a therapist and finding out what are those negative emotions, that see you time and time again escaping into the arms of gambling, that provide you with a short-term relief but long-term suffering and anguish. Phew - big sentence!
So, just scroll down to each approach below to find out more (they are in no particular order of importance).
I think everyone in the problem gambling world would agree that keeping a diary, especially in the beginning of recovery, is a highly effective approach that would unlock lots of information about your problem gambling. It has the power to highlight at what times you get the urges to gamble and by choosing to write about them, instead of giving in to them, you will have found one of the many ways that problem gambling can be avoided. In the beginning, what comes out may seem like gobbledy-gook, but that doesn't matter – starting writing is what is important. Over time, you will feel more and more empowered that you choose to write about your thoughts and feelings rather than gamble to escape them. I believe that empowering ourselves is the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves and the beauty of this approach is that it's free and involves no-one else.
When I wrote my diary it seemed like it was my guardian angel that would protect me and not let me gamble. I found it amazing that this third party that 'I' had created was now my new best friend, and together we set out on a new adventure – to beat the monster of problem gambling.
My diary of my first 100 days without a gamble got published. It is written from a very raw perspective and contains profanities and some sexual stuff (it is a 64 page long paperback) – it is called 'What's in a Gamble'. To order click here
The more time you spend reading how rotten problem gambling is, the more you will come to believe it. When you have read so much and your core beliefs towards gambling have changed then this will ultimately change your behaviour. For example; I'm sure you no longer get up early on christmas morning to try and catch a glimpse of Santa Claus, but we all used to - why? - because we once believed in him. (or at least I did anyway, and sorry to any kids out there who have accidentally clicked onto this page - You must shut down your computer immediately and run and tell your mummy that you have just had a bad dream)
What this approach offers, is that you will be placing yourself somewhere that is not so easy to walk away from i.e you won't be able to just log off from the computer. So it has the benefit of making you address your problem for a specific period of time.
As with all the different approaches, whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever brings you the success you are looking for, will become the right one for you.
This one is fantastic I think. It allows you to anonymously tell your story and really open up to a community of problem gamblers who have suffered just like you. You will meet people of both genders, all ages, and from all over the world which will demonstrate that your problem is not in isolation.
Here you will debate, share thoughts and feelings, learn facts and support one another through the process of recovery. I thoroughly recommend this approach, even if it is for just a brief period.
I know nothing about hynotherapy at this stage and am currently investigating it. My opinion at this stage is to give anything a go that has yielded results for many others, which this has. It's harmless, and compared to what money we've previously wasted, this is relatively cheap.
Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem. They meet up for weekly meetings for group discussions in many different countries around the world. This approach has worked for many thousands of problem gamblers but some find that it may not be for them.
Problem gambling has nothing to do with money. Problem gambling has everything to do with not effectively dealing with our negative emotions. If you don't believe me, just ask any problem gambler in recovery.
Having one to one sessions with anyone where you can open up and explore all the different aspects of your life and personality can really help you understand why you have problem gambled in the past, among other things. For some the 'why' may not be that important, they just want to stop, but I believe that in order to become a 'problem gambling free' person, that a little more balance is what is needed in our lives. This may be another avenue that could achieve this for you.